Tuesday, January 14, 2014

our weekly chore rotation (and how a $1 notepad changed my life).

last week was the first whole week of 2014, and it was a busy week. it was my first week back teaching at my churchs homeschool co op and alices first week back in ballet class. it was also the first week in a while that ive been able to completely cross off my weekly to-do list. 

and i cant really think of a better start to the new year, because that weekly to-do list is one of my best friends (if you cant tell already, i dont really have a lot of people friends).


because that weekly to-do list totally changed my life. 

im not kidding. i used to be super stressed out and overwhelmed all the time and my house was always either a disgusting mess or spotlessly clean for about fifteen minutes and i literally went to the grocery store every other day because we never had all the ingredients for dinner and we didnt really have any hobbies or go out because i couldnt ever find the time. 

but that was a very, very long time ago. these days the house is almost always in decent shape (and stays that way) and i only buy groceries once a week and we have more hobbies and get out of the house more than ever before. 

all because of a $1 notepad from target (p.s. they currently have them and you should totally go get one right now). well, that and a blog post i found on pinterest. 

now, a few months ago i wrote this post about completing my weekly list for six months straight and how it was such a big accomplishment and it was so great and i felt like wonder woman and all that good stuff, and i had intended on writing a follow-up post detailing exactly how (and why) the weekly list worked so well for us but i never got around to writing it. 

well, so far 2014 is the year of doing all the things i always wanted to do but never got around to for one reason or another. 

so today im going to talk about our weekly chore/errand rotation and how its totally taken about 95% of the pressure out of homemaking (for me, at least. i cant guarantee that this method will work for you, but i want to share it anyway in case someone out there does find it helpful). 

first things first i have a totally completely unhealthy relationship with lists. i wont waste time going into that here because you can read all about it in my previous post about lists. 

and this is where the notepad comes in. its divided into sections for each day of the week, and each section only has nine lines. meaning, it accommodates both my need to have a to-do list for every day AND limits me to the nine most important tasks for that day (i have to confess that i do occasionally add a second column to particularly busy days...) to keep me from overwhelming myself. 

because im totally the kind of person that makes giant scary to-do lists and then gets so anxious about not being able to finish them that i just freeze and do nothing. but thanks to this wonderful, magical $1 notepad, ive broken this habit and become the most productive (and least anxious) ive ever been in my entire life. 

now the notepad itself worked wonders as far as general productivity is concerned, but it didnt exactly help me make much progress as far as keeping the house clean (enough) and the fridge full. 

thats where the blog post comes in. 

i dont know about you, but for me it was really hard to find the right balance of not letting the house get too gross/not obsessing over keeping the house spotlessly clean. especially when theres only the two of us and one small child. in our house theres a lot of messes/laundry/dishes that need to be picked up on a daily basis, but it takes a REALLY long time for things to get actually dirty enough to need serious cleaning. 

while i generally had a good grip on everyday tidying, the actual cleaning part i had trouble with. and its not like i need my house to be perfectly museum clean at all times, its just, im really not a big fan of just letting everything get disgusting and then spending an entire saturday cleaning everything. thats how james was raised and how we tried to do things when we first got married and i just can not live like that. 

id just like to maintain a decently clean house so that in the off chance someone comes over i can get it "company ready" in just a few minutes (just kidding, nobody ever comes over). it didnt seem like too much to ask for, but i spent oh, i dont know, about TWO YEARS trying to figure something out. 

i mean really, it was too perfect. 

ok, not exactly perfect because i had to make a LOT of adjustments to the cleaning schedule that the nice lady at organizing made fun put in the post, because well, our one-bedroom apartment (and toddler and cat), BUT assigning specific days to certain tasks 1. makes sure theyre getting done regularly, and 2. keeps things from getting so dirty that they take forever to clean. also, spending a half hour (or less) on chores every day REALLY helps with my funky work schedule AND lets us have weekends COMPLETELY OFF from housework. its amazing. 

ive been doing our modified version for i think almost a year now AND ITS THE GREATEST THING EVER. i even took the schedule one step further and added our regular errands to it, and holy organization for the first time in my adult life i have so much free time. AND most of the time everything i need to get done is done. 

obviously her (or my) exact method isnt necessarily going to work for you exactly, but i thought id share her original schedule, and my modifications so that you could see how this method can totally still work for a family with totally different cleaning needs if youre willing to give it a try. 

so first, her list went something like this: 

monday: vacuum
tuesday: dust
wednesday: clean one bathroom
thursday: clean other bathroom
friday: clean kitchen
weekends: nothing
daily: general tidying, dishes, laundry, mail etc. 

and well, that might work for someone with a really big house that isnt home much, but our floors get dirty REALLY fast, so sweeping/vaccuming/mopping need to happen more than once a week. also, we only have one bathroom so we have no need to spend two days cleaning bathrooms. also also, i need to accomodate for my work schedule and keep the load lighter on days that im working. so our week looks more like this:

monday: sweep, mop, clean bathroom (i dont work mondays so theres more room for chores)
tuesday: vacuum, tidy bedroom, clean kitchen 
wednesday: sweep (wednesday afternoons i teach a class AND wednesday i do our meal planning/shopping so i keep the chores light)
thursday: vaccum, clean living room (our living room is also alices bedroom and it gets cluttered/disorganized VERY fast so its nice to take care of that weekly)
friday: sweep and mop (i work friday afternoon/evening so again, less emphasis on chores, but like i said, our floors are ALWAYS dirty)
weekends: nothing
i actually dont have any specific daily chores, but trash, laundry, dishes, etc. are done on an as needed basis. 

weve been using this schedule for several months now and i LOVE it, ive been able to keep the house at least decent almost all the time AND i really dont spend a lot of time on chores. which is really great because ive noticed that im the kind of person that cant focus on big-picture things like organizing and purging our junk unless the house is at least tidy. but thats a topic for an entirely different post. 

hope this post wasnt too boring and awful! 

i want to know though, do you schedule your chores? or do you just do them as they come? am i totally insane here?

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